By Jerry W. Hedge, Jay E. Feldman.
Open Access Peer Reviewed
In the US, the youth (16 to 24 years old) unemployment rate has been in double-digits for the last seven years. During recessions and in weak job markets, youth are usually the first to be fired and last to be hired. While older workers (55 years and older) continue to be an essential and growing component of the workforce, they are particularly susceptible to personnel cuts, and once unemployed often face greater employment challenges than younger workers. Thus, both youth and older workers find themselves at a disadvantage in the job market, facing employment hurdles associated with skills and experience deficits. Preparing youth for success in tomorrow’s workforce is of increasing concern to our nation’s schools, communities, policy makers, and businesses. Likewise, taking advantage of the expertise and institutional knowledge possessed by older workers makes good business sense. Significant changes in the nature of work, and traditional approaches to education, training, and development often create skills-job requirements mismatches. Thus, a new learning framework and philosophy is required that emphasizes developing performance-based knowledge and skill sets from a variety of learning systems, and a willingness to learn new things in different ways in work settings, in postsecondary institutions, or through self-directed learning.